Google’s new tool will start phasing out third-party cookies in weeks


Google will begin testing a new feature that restricts third-party cookies by default in the coming weeks.

The Tracking Protection tool will be rolled out on January 4, 2024, to 1% of Chrome users globally.

Why we care. Be aware that if your website depends on third-party cookies, this rollout might pose challenges. Take this rollout as a heads-up to ensure your site is prepared well in advance before Google retires third-party cookies entirely in the latter half of 2024.

Why now? Google views this as a crucial step in its Privacy Sandbox initiative, aiming to phase out third-party cookies for everyone by the second half of 2024. However, the final decision depends on addressing any lingering competition concerns from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

Am I affected? Google is selecting the 1% of Chrome users at random. If Tracking Protection is being rolled out to you, you will receive notifications upon opening Chrome on desktop or Android in January.

Potential issues. If a site relies on third-party cookies and the roll out of Tracking Protection causes issues (for example, you refresh a page multiple times), Chrome will prompt you to temporarily re-enable them by clicking the eye icon on the address bar’s right side.

What Google is saying. A Google spokesperson said in a statement:

  • “Third-party cookies have been a fundamental part of the web for nearly three decades. While they can be used to track your website activities, sites have also used them to support a range of online experiences — like helping you log in or showing you relevant ads.”
  • “As we introduce Tracking Protection, we’re starting with a small percentage of Chrome users so developers can test their readiness for a web without third-party cookies.”

What is Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative? The Privacy Sandbox initiative develops tech that safeguards online privacy while providing companies and developers with tools to build successful digital businesses.

The Privacy Sandbox has two primary objectives:

  • Phase out support for third-party cookies when new solutions are in place.
  • Reduce cross-site and cross-app tracking while helping to keep online content and services free for all.

What are third-party cookies? A third-party cookie is a small piece of data placed on a user’s device (computer, cellphone, or tablet) by a website different from the one the user is currently visiting. Primarily utilized in online advertising, these cookies track a user’s browsing history and activities, enabling targeting for personalized ads for products and services.


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Deep dive. Read ‘SEO and the future world without cookies‘ by Search Engine Land contributor Adam Audette for more information on what a cookieless world will look like for SEO and PPC marketers.



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